Hello Muser Family!
Hope you've had and are having a great weekend.
We're going for another mystery writing exercise today...an emotion with only visual/mood descriptions
Let's get musing...oh, and highlight what you can't see to see ;)
DAWN KNOX, author
Eyes that once sought mine, now seek hers. I turn away from their intimate glances and hide the tears that burn my lower lids. I can no longer see them but my heart knows, and the knowledge is a blunt knife that strikes with slow and steady strokes. Over and over it cuts me, inflicting wounds that will never heal. With closed eyes, I cannot witness them together, yet I am consumed by visions of their entwined bodies. Razor-sharp images sear the inside of my eyelids, leaving memories which will never fade.
JAMES CROFOOT, author
The pain in my chest. I can't breathe. Slowly I turn to see the most beautiful woman I have ever seen as she walks in my direction. Panic sets in further as she stops in front of me and offers me a drink. Taking it from her, the glass nearly drops from my sweaty palm.
She stormed into the room and slammed the door behind her shaking the delicate glassware on the shelves of the antique her mother loved.
The day had begun so well with her usual vanilla nonfat latte and a croissant. But when she got to the office she found a big pile on top of her desk. No one had done the work yesterday due to the snow and she fought the urge to scream. Of course it was her job, because no one else could do it.
“Hey,” she shouted to one of her co-workers, “am I supposed to do all of this myself?”
“Yeah, we just got a whole new load of stuff and I can’t do it.”
Mary stifled the scream again and asked another co-worker. Each time the person had another excuse. Finally she settled down to work and found that instead of her pile getting smaller it was not even budging. What? Then she saw that each of the workers had been surreptitiously placing more and more work on her pile.
At that moment her boss popped her head out of her office. “Mary, what is that pile on your desk? Do you see that all of your co-workers have completed theirs?”
Mary had nothing to say, because she couldn’t rat out her co-workers. Could she?
So she didn’t get to have lunch and worked until the last minute before 5 finally managing to complete all of the folders.
When she got back from the bathroom she found another pile on her desk.
“Mary, I think you need to work faster. I don’t see anything was done today.”
Mary placed her hands over her mouth and willed herself to keep control. “I’ll do them tomorrow, if that’s okay.”
“Yes, but I am now going to be watching you very carefully.”
Mary practically ran to her car and couldn’t wait to get home. On the way home there was a one hour traffic jam and she spent the time trying to calm down, but even her favorite music didn’t ease how she felt.
When she arrived home she found that her favorite parking space was occupied by another unfamiliar car. This was her last straw. She found a new space farther away from her door and ran home.
NANCY CANU, Muse Editor
To give you some background—Cole Elliot and Sullivan Grant met in college and were together for nine years. They split up when Sully left to pursue the research for his doctoral dissertation and Cole stayed in New Jersey. At the start of the story, they meet up again after twelve years—they are both forty, Cole is the Chief of Police in a small town, and Sully—Dr. Grant, now—is a meteorologist with a big TV network, doing a story in Cole’s town. Against Cole’s better judgment, they’ve gotten involved, both of them telling themselves this is just a thing—Sully will be leaving in a few days. This scene takes place about two-thirds of the way through the story.
Sully woke up to the sound of rain, and no Cole. It couldn’t be more than one in the morning, maybe two. He sat up, squinting past the curtains, and slid out of bed to pad through the open doors onto the deck. Cole was sprawled in an Adirondack chair in his boxers and a T-shirt, cradling a tumbler with ice and what Sully guessed was bourbon—really not much of a guess since the bottle was right there.
Something—the dark, or the rain, or maybe the sight of the bourbon—kept him from saying anything. He took the chair next to Cole’s and found an empty glass sitting on the deck near the ice bucket. So he made himself a drink and took a sip, then another, and the not-quite-comfortable silence stretched out as the bourbon set up a nice hum in his blood.
“Do you know what I wanted to do after college?” Cole said with no warning. If it wasn’t for the bourbon, Sully would’ve jumped.
Sully turned to look at him, but Cole was staring out into the dark. “Um,” Sully said after a beat, “be a cop?”
“Huh.” Cole took a sip, and the ice rattled in his glass before he rested it on the arm of the chair. “I wanted to join the FBI.”
“So…why didn’t you?” The second he said it, Sully knew the answer, or thought he did. And right on the heels of that, his stomach went completely hollow.
Cole’s mouth curved, except Sully guessed it wasn’t really a smile. “Because I met you. And by the time I had to decide…” Cole sighed, and it was a long two seconds before he continued. “First it would have meant moving, and then after that I wouldn’t really have a choice where they sent me. And I thought…” He didn’t say anything for a while after that, and Sully didn’t dare open his mouth—because all that would have come out was a whole lot of pointless crap. Cole took another sip of his drink, and this time Sully understood that the ice rattled because Cole’s hand shook, tearing a raw, bloody strip right down the middle of Sully’s metaphorical heart. “I thought we were gonna be together,” Cole said at last, in a rough voice that laid salt all over that bleeding strip. “So I figured the NYPD would be a better bet, you know?”
“I always talked about getting away from New Jersey—we both did,” Sully growled—because, dammit, this crap hurt, even all these years later. “And that was supposed to be together, too.”
“What you talked about was working for that lab out on Long Island. The fluid physics place.” Cole swallowed, Sully heard him do it. “Not…moving to Florida.”
“Every plan I ever made,” Sully heard himself say, “was supposed to be us. Together. Every time I pictured the future, you were right there with me.”
“You left me.” The three words fell like rocks. Smoking, radioactive, poisonous rocks. “They offered you the money and you couldn’t pack fast enough.”
Sully froze, and then lowered his glass very slowly to the arm of the chair. “Is that what you think? Is that…how you think it was?”
Cole snorted. “I was there, remember?” His voice sounded thick, and the damp night air clogged Sully’s own throat for a moment before he could make words.
“Yeah, and do you remember how long it took for me to get that grant money? Three years. And when I did—” Sully ran out of breath. “When I did, I didn’t know how to tell you. So I put it off, and by the time I got around to explaining it meant me going to Florida, I had a week to get my butt down there.”
The silence spun out until Cole broke it. “You never told me that. Why—”
“Because I knew you were going to say no—”
“You didn’t know for sure—”
“Yeah, I did,” Sully snarled. “Give me that much credit. And not once—not one goddamn time did you ever suggest that we could try staying together long-distance, try and make it work.”
“You were the one doing the running,” Cole snarled back. “What was I supposed to do? Beg you to stay with me? Crawl after you?”
“No.” Sully closed his eyes and swallowed. “No. I guess I just—” He exhaled and tried not to shudder. Setting the glass down on the deck, he found his feet, needing to move before the ache under his sternum crushed something important. “I thought—” The words he needed to make Cole understand refused to organize themselves into any coherent sentence.
“Sully.” Cole was right behind him, and completely out of reach. “I know sometimes it feels like I can read your mind. But…you do know I can’t, right?”
Thanks for joining us and see you next week!
If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman at MuseChrisChat@gmail.com